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Asian stocks rise on China data beat, PBOC support: markets wrap

Asian stocks rise on China data beat, PBOC support: markets wrap
An electronic ticker displays share prices at the Tokyo Stock Exchange. (Photo: Keith Bedford/Bloomberg)

Stocks in Asia advanced following better-than-expected Chinese economic data and after the central bank took further measures to support the struggling economy. 

Shares in mainland China edged higher after industrial production and retail sales data beat estimates, adding to evidence earlier stimulus measures are starting to have an effect. The Australian dollar and Chinese yuan both strengthened. Equities in Australia, Japan, South Korea and Hong Kong also gained following a rally in US stocks on Thursday.

The People’s Bank of China kept the interest rate on its one-year medium-term lending facility unchanged and added further cash into markets via a key policy loan for the 10th month to help loosen conditions, a day after it announced another cut to lenders’ reserve requirements.

“The improvement in industrial production and retail sales is encouraging,” said Frances Cheung, a rates strategist at Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp. in Singapore. “Recent economic data point to some stabilisation in economic activities, which shall set a floor to CNY interest rates.”

China’s policy strategy appears to be one that puts forward an orchestra of measures within a short period of time in order to achieve some amplified impact, she said.

An equity benchmark for the region is set to close at its highest level in just over a month after the S&P 500 and Nasdaq both rose 0.8% on Thursday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed almost 1% as US retail sales and producer prices beat estimates while US stock futures extended gains in Asia. 

Arm Holdings Plc jumped 25% in its trading debut in New York, while Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Co. underperformed, with Detroit car manufacturers facing the threat of a strike. Traders also braced for Friday’s triple witching options event — which has the potential to trigger volume spikes and volatility.

The dollar edged lower versus most major peers and the Bloomberg dollar index is set to snap eight weeks of gains. The euro remains near a five-month low after the European Central Bank likely hiked for a final time and downgraded growth forecasts on Thursday. US Treasury yields edged lower in Asia. 

The dollar is losing ground as “the better-than-expected China data certainly gives an excuse for profit-taking as we head into the weekend before the FOMC decision”, said Fiona Lim, a senior analyst at Malayan Banking Bhd. in Singapore. While the euro and pound may head higher, “they are likely to maintain their respective bearish trends amid a weak growth outlook and thus we prefer to sell euro, sterling on rally,” she said.

In commodities, oil’s rally above $90 a barrel is the latest milestone in a surge driven by output cuts from Saudi Arabia and Russia amid record global consumption and follows reports this week warning of tightness in the coming months. Futures advanced on Friday, but with prices soaring more than 30% since late June, traders are bracing for a potential pullback.


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